Approximately 440 dancers gathered in Salmon Arm July 10 to 13 for BC Festival 2019.
Dancers and dance instructors, callers and cuers from across Canada and the U.S. participated in the event, the likes of which Salmon Arm hasn’t seen for 20 years according volunteer co-ordinator and Thompson-Shuswap Square and Round Dance Association president Bill Wood.
“We’re here mostly to dance and do a little bit of calling and cuing,” said Claudia Littlefair of Strathmore, Alta., who attended the event with her husband Dave. “We’re here mostly to dance, and to do a little bit of calling and cueing. It’s an opportunity to get to meet other square dancers from other places and meet up with friends who we’ve met through square dancing.”
Littlefair said she and Dave have been dancing for 25 years and calling and cuing for the last 11 years.
“We like the patterns that the square dancers make when they dance in teams of eight people, and we thought it was really fun. The music is also quite different, most people think we dance to hoedown music which isn’t true. We dance to anything with a good beat, so pop, rock ‘n’ roll, Latin music, sometimes we’re dancing to classical or showtunes. Country and western for sure.”
Square dancing runs in the Brendzy family. Ray and Christine Brendzy, their son Nicholas and daughter Caitlyn all dance and each of them, except Christine, also call and cue.
“Ray calls in the Lower Mainland to five clubs weekly, Nicholas has a club that he’s done for the last year and the two of them (Nicholas and Caitlyn) have taught round dances since last year as well…,” said Christine. “Our kids have actually been competing since they were five and six years old, they started with square dancing, got into round dancing, calling and cueing, they’ve all won first place awards for calling and cueing, and now they continue the family tradition by taking on their own clubs.”
“This is what families have been doing in North America for 200 years, they’ve come together, they’ve learned to dance, they’ve socialized and have had a lot of fun, and I like being a part of that,” said Nicholas.
Salmon Arm’s Bonnie Vandevoss was having a blast on Friday teaching line dance. She was thrilled to see BC Festival 2019 return to the community, and the fun it brings.
“This is a great entertainment thing for the whole community… I’m glad I volunteered for the afternoon,” said Vandevoss.
For more information on BC Festival 2019, visit bcfestival2019.com.